Fifty Shades of Black

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Mama (Eva) holding Tack, that’s me on the right with my mouth wide open!

 

Random Woman:  Hey Brenda!

Brenda:  Hey girl, how are you?  I haven’t seen you in some years!

Random Woman: I know!  It’s been a long time.

Brenda:  Yes it has, by the way, let me introduce you to my friend, Eva.

Random Woman:  (Very dry, cold and nonchalant) Hey Eva.

Random Woman: (Directly addressing Brenda) Ooh Brenda, your little girl is so pretty, how old is she?

Eva: (PISSED) That’s MY child!

Random Woman: (Slightly Embarrassed but still chilly) Oh, I’m sorry, she just looks more like Brenda to me.

Eva walks off with child (ME) in tow.

Yes friends, my mother, Queen Diva Lady Eva, was tee’d off!

Why, you ask?

Because ‘Ms. Random Woman’ assumed that I was Brenda’s daughter based solely on the fact that we shared the same skin complexion.

She never thought for a moment that I could belong to my mother–who was a shade or two darker.

It simply didn’t occur to her to ask.

Sadly, this type of attitude was nothing new to Mama.  As a child, she had received whippings from a lighter skinned uncle for being “too black.”

Colorism 
col·or·ism
ˈkələrˌizəm/

noun

Prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group–Oxford Dictionaries
What the Oxford folks failed to mention is that this phenomenon is a ‘carry-over’ of Slavery; having been birthed from the actions of slave owners.
In essence, slave masters created division among their chattel by treating them differently based on skin complexion.
The darker slaves were treated far worse than the lighter slaves.  Because of their color, dark skinned men and women were forced to engage in heavy labor while the lighter skinned slaves were treated better–relatively speaking.
Naturally, the lighter skinned slaves were told that they were superior to their melanin rich brothers and sisters and both groups bought into that belief.
And there we have it!
A lifelong mutual animosity between darker slaves and lighter slaves…which sadly continues with their descendants today–albeit to a much lesser degree.
Come now!
Let’s re-evaluate the scenario that I offered at the beginning of this post.
Notice how dismissive Ms. Random Woman was toward my mother.
She all but ignored her darker skinned ‘sister.’
‘Ms. Random’ never imagined that chocolate Ms. Eva could be the mother of a caramel colored daughter with long pony tails.
Of course, at the age of 3, I was too young to notice or understand the larger implications of this woman’s attitude.
I had no clue what was really going on.
Little did I know, I would continue to experience some form of this lunacy throughout my life as my father’s racial identity was, to the average onlooker, perplexing… to say the least 🙂
Lord, I got all kinds of questions like, “Is your Dad Mexican?”

Puerto Rican?

Cuban?

Arab?

West Indian?

East Indian?

Native American?

And everything in between….

Oh, and then there were the really stupid questions like:

How did your Mom get a handsome man like your Dad?

Ok, that’s when I got rowdy!

All bets were off!

Seriously?  What do you mean?

Do you not realize that you’re talking about MY MOTHER?

You better back the hell up!

I’m sorry guys but that mess really got under my skin!

Oh and if you think things got better as years passed…

Think again!

My Mama often recalled a time when an associate of my Dad’s came by to borrow a drill.

Apparently, he peeked past my Mom, who had answered the door, in order to get a better glance at me and whispered, “That must be Jim’s daughter.”

Mama said, “Yes, and she’s my daughter and we have a son too!”

What an idiotic thing to say!

“That must be Jim’s daughter.”

It rolled right off his ignorant ass tongue without a bit of thought attached to it.

The fact that he knew that my parents had been married for 100 years added insult to injury!

Ah…but here’s an even more egregious example.

One day, back in 2012, I had been sitting in the hospital room with Mama for most of the morning.

Well, this black nurse, who had been in and out, and who had seem me sitting there the whole time, asked, “Has any of her family come by yet?”

What the hell do I look like?

Chopped liver?

Of course I didn’t say THAT but I did say, “Well I’m her daugther.”

Naturally, the nurse apologized.

I thought to myself….Here we go again…after all this time.

Still dealing with issues of color.

Mama caught hell for being too dark and Daddy caught hell for being too racially ambiguous.

Good grief!

 

 

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Daddy and Mama at about age 15

 

Inspiration for this post came from comments between myself and these great bloggers:

Kelley at Gray Suede

Dr. K. E. Garland

Ron Brown 

 

 

 

 

 

On Grandparents, Sages and Ancestors

granddaddy-watching-over
Granddaddy (My Dad), circa 2004, watching over my son at a school camping trip. (Excuse the imperfections in the image.)

 

Every time I see folks taking care of their grandchildren, I always make it a point to say to them, “Thank God for Grandparents!”

No doubt, Grandparents can be a child’s guardian angel materialized on Earth.

Trust me when I tell you that I enjoyed interacting with my own Grandparents–when they were alive–and I’ve enjoyed watching my children do the same with my parents.

Grandchildren:  Always be a blessing to your Grandparents, just as they are or were to you!

Ah, but wait, I can hear somebody in the ethers hollering, “But Lady G, I’ve never had a relationship with my Grandparents.”

To that, I say…

Seek the Sages!

Sages are easy to find–if you’re willing to look around you.

Sometimes they are sitting next to you on the bus.

Other times, they are standing next to you at the library.

Or in the line at the coffee shop.

Interactions with Sages need not be unnecessarily long.

Sometimes, Sages offer a quick word of advice or wisdom that can take you ten steps further down the road.

Sadly, many Sages are slipping away in:

Nursing homes

Back bedrooms

Small apartments

Unattended to…

So…

Find the Sages I say!  Talk to them!  Learn their stories! Take pictures of them! Bestow them with accolades!

(It should go without saying that this advice also applies to Grandparents.)

Treasure them…they deserve it!

For tomorrow you will look and they’ll be gone.

Finally, let us not forget…

The Ancestors!

For the purposes of this post, Ancestors are defined as all of the Grandparents, and Sages who have ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’…having ascended to higher realms.

Remember and honor them!

They are watching!

Make them proud!

Love and light to you all!

Lady G 😘💋

Dedicated to My Grandparents:

Mary

Leroy and Annie Maude

And to my Parents, Sages and Ancestors!

Happy Birthday to Us- Pt 1

 

lady-jhalloween
Lady J (October 2016)

Greetings friends!

January is a month of birthdays around here!

First up is Lady J.  

She turns 11 this week.

If you guys follow this blog then you already ‘know’ her as my youngest child.

Talk about a spirited chick?

That’s our Lady J!

Not only is she feisty, but she’s a smart and witty one who enjoys cooking, crafting, writing, reading, drawing and playing piano.

Wise beyond her years, Lady J is, as many of you know, a self proclaimed “Protector of the Animals.”

That said, she knows just about anything that can be known about pretty much any animal you can think of.

Trust me on that one 😉

I’ve heard it all!

Naturally, she wants to be a Veterinarian.

Of course, some of you may remember this post where she staged a school bake sale to raise money to help support dogs awaiting adoption.

Poor baby, I think the final tally was only about $25.00…

But hey, it’s the thought that counts.

Anyway, please join me as I celebrate my sweet daughter, Lady J.

 

babyj
Baby Lady J
lady-j-potholder
Lady J creation (age 7)
lady-j-knits
Lady J’s current work (in progress):  A hand knitted winter’s scarf
ladyjpiano
Practicing for Winter Recital (2016)
ladyjmakingbrownies
Baking Brownies
lady-j-sketch-3
One of Lady J’s many sketches

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADY J!!!!!

With love,

Mom 😘💋

Listen to Mama…

 

mamasideeye
Mama throwing serious side-eye!

My 22 year-old son and I are very close.

We always have been.

From the moment he was born, he and I were inseparable.

I can remember turning down plenty of opportunities to go hang out with friends; opting instead to stay home with my baby boy.

People would say, “I know the perfect babysitter.”

To which I would respond with something along the lines of, “Well, I don’t know that person and neither does my son…so there’s that.”

Sounds harsh doesn’t it?

Oh well!

Anyway, suffice it to say, whenever my son (or my daughter) would ask to do things that were borderline ‘iffy,’ I’d think long and hard before deciding whether or not I would allow them to partake.

And, whenever I decided NOT to allow them to do something, I would explain, sometimes ad nauseum,  why I came to the conclusion that I did.

Then I would punctuate that explanation with the following statement, “Baby, you are extremely valuable and you cannot be replaced.”

That said, Mama watched them babies like the proverbial HAWK!

But then…

My son graduated high school and went away to college.

At that point, all bets were off!

He was his own man and I had no control over his choices.

My only saving grace was the fact that I still had influence.

Luckily, my son and I had always been able to talk about ANYTHING…and I mean anything.

He valued my opinion and often sought and listened to my advice.

YAAASSS!

He sought and listened to my advice…

Until he didn’t.

And that’s when I had to come to terms with the fact that this dude was now an adult who was more than capable of making his own decisions.

In short, I needed to fall back!

So nowadays, when he tells me that he’s leaving to go on a tour of the Moon and Mars, I just have to say a quiet prayer, be still, and know that God is watching over him wherever he goes.

Now…

Having said all of that, I recently told my son, “Listen to Mama…but just not too much.”

Friends, I said that because I want him to benefit from my wisdom and experience but not be paralyzed by my fears.

He got my point.

I hope you do too.

But just in case you didn’t…

Remember, whether you are seeking advice from Mama, Daddy, or whomever, use your own discernment.

Take what’s useful and kindly leave what’s not!

***Said the woman who has been white-knuckling her way through motherhood!

LOL!!!

Love and light to you!

LadyG 😘💋

PS:  This is dedicated to my children, R and J, and for ALL of my “babies” in the blogosphere!  

You guys know who you are 🙂

This is also for every parent and child, no matter where you are in the process 🙂

 

Come to the Light

sunset-1625081_1920

Remember that old saying, “You are what you eat?”

Trust me, that ‘proverb’ is true on so many levels.

It’s not always about what you physically consume with your mouth–though that’s very important.

It’s just as much about what you decided to bring into your life via your eyes and ears.

Think about the things that you look at and listen to all day.

Are those things adding value to you as a person?

Do they add value to others?

Do they uplift?

Do they bring joy?

Do they inspire?

Here’s my take…

There comes a point when you must take responsibility for what you consume.

Why?

Because, on some level or form, you recreate all of the things that you ingest.

In a nutshell, if you mindfully ingest positive things, you will produce positivity.

Conversely, if you mindlessly ingest negative things, you will recreate more negativity.

Don’t believe me?

Go watch a ‘reality show’ or a ‘news’ program and see if your mind doesn’t start to entertain some of that junk.

Next thing you know you’ll be cussing out your spouse, mate, sibling, roommate, parent, landlord, boss, teacher, dog, bird or cat–all the while writing a hate filled comment on a random website.

Oh, I hear some of you out there in the ethers saying, “But Lady G, I want to be informed, I want to be in the know about all the goings on.”

I get that.

But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be INUNDATED to be aware.

Do realize, that this whole concept of the 24-hour news and TV programming cycle is a relatively new creation.

There was a time when folks watched the news TWICE –at best!

Once from Walter Cronkite.

Then, again,  from the local 11pm newscast.

That was it!

Wanna know why?  Because not long after that the freaking TV shut down!

What?

Yes baby, there was a time when all of the TV stations signed-off around midnight.

They did not resume activity until the next morning around 6am.

Fancy that?

Oh yeah, by the way, there were others who solely got their news in written form–the newspaper 😉

SERIOUSLY, how many times do we need to see the film, listen to the audio or be verbally assaulted by a myriad of wannabees and talking-heads pontificating about a whole lot of nothing?

What more do you need to know?

Nothing.

You already know everything you need to know in order to formulate an informed opinion about local, national and international events.

Believe me, you do!

And, as for TV programming, do yourself a favor and incorporate other forms of entertainment into your life.

Look for things that improve your intellect, wisdom, knowledge and spiritual understanding.

Get off Facebook and put your face in a book!

Get off Twitter and go listen to some real birds tweet!

For real!  Let’s do it!

So, here’s an invitation to you to come run with Lady G!

Step away from that electrical hearth you call a TV, computer or smartphone and let’s escape to the light 🙂

Any takers?  Meet me in comments 😉

 

😘💋

 

Fun with Symbols

cure-297557_1280

**Alternate title:  One of 10,000 random stories wandering around my limbic system.

In my neck of the woods, the Caduceus, pictured above, is associated with all things healing, health and medical.

Notice the two snakes intertwined around the Greek God Hermes’ magical winged staff.

Ah, but pretty much everywhere else in the world, the Rod or Staff of Asclepius represents the aforementioned concepts.

While  I refuse to engage in an exposé on the origins, confoundings and controversies surrounding these two symbols, I should, at least, acknowledge that the Staff of Asclepius depicts one snake on a rod–sans the wings.

Whew!

Yes, babylove Google is a helluva drug!

Get into it!

Anyway, for clarity’s sake, I ask that you forget everything I just told you about the Staff of Asclepius and focus your attention solely on the Caduceus.

Why?

Because, the Caduceus is the symbol I wanna talk about 😉

In fact, it is the symbol that I associate, not just with my pediatrician–Dr. Bennett, but also with cheeseburgers, Sears, and pecan caramel chocolate cluster candies–in that order 😉

What the hell?

Let me explain.

When I was a child, my pediatrician’s office was housed in a tall brick professional building that sported a large silver Caduceus on the side.

And, believe it or not, whenever I spotted that magical symbol, my senses would come alive!

Oh yes, it was, indeed, Pavlovian and you, I pray, are about to understand why.

Let me continue to explain.

You see, as soon as I saw the Caduceus from the parking lot– my memory would perk up and I could immediately ‘see,’ in my mind, my dear Dr. Bennett’s handsome smile.

I could ‘hear’ him say, “Hello Gwin, how are you?”

But, best of all, I could ‘smell’ then ‘taste’ the cheeseburgers that Mama and I would, no doubt, eat in a small diner located on the first floor of that building.

Let the mouth watering begin!

Oh, but the fun didn’t end there!

I thought about how immediately following our double date with the cheeseburgers, Mama and I would walk down the street to Sears to buy a bag of pecan caramel chocolate cluster candies– which we’d nibble all the way home.

Delicious!

Remember friends, I experienced all of this before we could step foot into the building for my appointment.

Oh, I can hear you guys asking, “Lady G, what the hell is the point to this story?”

To that I say, “I’m not sure…Do we need one?”

Maybe not.

But isn’t it interesting that a symbol that was meant to represent ideas of healing and medicine could be hijacked by the senses to represent things that are completely unintended like cheeseburgers and chocolate candy?

Our world is highly personalized, don’t you think?

And, on that note, Lady G never looks at a Caduceus without craving a damn good cheeseburger and some chocolates.

What say you about symbols- hijacked or otherwise?

Feel free to go a bit deeper.

Meet me in comments and let’s discuss 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

…Black…Black…

 

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A real life dialogue from 1990 between two young co-workers.  

One Black and One White.

 

Me:  “Hey Teri!  How are your classes coming this quarter?”

Teri:  “Hey Gwin!  They’re coming along OK.”

Me:  “Are you making any new friends?”

Teri:  “Well, yes…but, to be honest,  I’ve noticed that the Black students in my classes aren’t really friendly and they only talk to each other.”

Me:  “Well have you tried starting a conversation with any of ’em?”

Teri:  “Well, no… I mean, I’m not used to being around Black people so I wouldn’t know what to say.”

Me:  “Teri, you’re forgetting something…in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m Black and we talk all the time.”

Teri:  “Gwin, that’s different, you’re Black but you’re not Black Black.

Me:  What?  What do you mean I’m not Black Black?”

Teri:  “See… now you’re trying to make me feel bad, I’m just saying that you’re not like most Black people.”

Me:  “Come on Teri didn’t you just say that you’re not used to being around Black people?  So how do you know how most Black people are?”

Teri:  “Gwin, please don’t get mad.  You’ve been a very good friend to me and the last thing I would want to do is offend you so let’s just drop the subject, I’m sorry.”

Me:  “I accept Teri and I agree; we probably need to move on and start talking about something else.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Heard It Through The Grapevine!

Honeyblonde

**Includes adult language and situations.

“Girl you better come get Ron!  He out here all hugged up with a bitch with a honey blonde bob!”

Yes baby, word on the street was that our dear Ron was stepping out on his wife with a bitch with a honey blonde bob!

YAAAASSSS!

Say what????

Yeah chile!

Sit down and listen while I pour this tea 😉

____

It was a dark and stormy night in Southwest Georgia (No seriously, it really was!) and I decided to visit one of my most favorite men in the whole wide world.

So, I jumped in the car and drove to Cuthbert, Georgia.

To say that the drive was gloomy would be an understatement; the weather was bad and the occasion was somber.

You see, I was going to visit my cousin Ron the night before our Grandfather’s funeral.

Indeed, this was not the happiest of reunions.

Anyway, Ron told me that he had planned to grab a beer at the club.

Which club you ask?

Come on now, Cuthbert ain’t exactly the ATL so you know it ain’t but one ‘club’ in that joint.

At any rate, after driving for about 45 minutes, I had arrived at my destination.

I immediately got out and walked into the club—right up to Ron.

Clearly, he’s a good looking brother so you know he wasn’t hard to find 😉

Sorry for the digression!

So, as one would guess, we gave each other a long hug then walked away from the crowd to have a private conversation.

Mind you, Ron did not introduce me to anybody.

You guys understand right?  It just wasn’t the time or place for such pleasantries.

Anyway, after our talk, Ron walked me to my car and gave me another long hug.

Remember, we were trying to comfort each other because we both knew that the next day would be very long and painful.

Needless to say, right after our embrace, we said our goodbyes, and I drove away.

BAYBEE, the next day Ron’s then wife, who had not been present at the club that night, called me and said, “Girl you know somebody called me and woke me up out my sleep to tell me I needed to get down to the club ’cause Ron was all hugged up with a bitch with a honey blonde bob!”

I hollered!

She went on to say, “Gwin, something told me to roll over and go back to sleep.”

I said, “You know that was me right?”

She said, “Ron told me, and I’m so glad I didn’t come down there actin’ a fool for NOTHING!”

🙂 🙂 🙂

To this day, Ron and I joke about me being the bitch with the honey blonde bob.

Let me correct that, Ron doesn’t cuss—but I do!

LOL!!!

Y’all, I decided to share this story because I think that it provides a great example of the lyrics from that soul classic, “Heard it Through The Grapevine:”

Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

And so…

My advice to busybodies:  Stop being so quick to run back and tell shit!

Pass it on!

 

Remember you can catch up with Ron on his wonderful blog,  The Time Tunnel.  You can also catch him here every Friday 🙂

Best believe you’ll LOVE reading, my cousin,”The Black Mark Twain!”

-Lady G

😘💋

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mona Lisa and Me

Me at 3
Me at 3

“No matter where you go in the room, Mona Lisa will be looking right at you.”

I remember wondering how that could be possible as I listened to my Godfather talk about a picture that was on display in his living room.

Believe me when I tell you that I was NOT convinced that the lady pictured could do that. So, I tested his assertion. I mean I went to every corner of that room to try that thing out and, sure enough, Mona Lisa continued to look at me- no matter where I went.

I should’ve known he was right.

By the way, my Godmother, who looked like a beautiful Black Betty White, loved laughing at my Godfather as he carried on this sort of ‘grown up’ conversation with three year old me.  Best believe that there was nothing that he could ask me or tell me about that I didn’t have a quick response or answer for; well except for the Mona Lisa thing.  And to be honest, when all else failed, I’d just dip into my vivid imagination and make something up!

Making stuff up is a child’s prerogative isn’t it?

Who knew that my Godfather was teaching me to become a creative communicator 😉

At any rate, during visits with my Godparents, I loved watching and listening to my Godfather play jazz tunes ‘by ear.’  From what I understand, he and his sister were raised in a household that placed a high value on education.  In fact, his sister, who was highly intelligent, went on to become a professor at a prestigious American University.  One of the things that I remember most about her was the love that she had for her dear poodle, Zora.

By the way, you are correct if you guessed that her dog was named for Zora Neale Hurston, the Black novelist, folklorist and anthropologist.

Well to me, at that time, “Zora” meant nothing more than small, yappy, white poodle-period.

Anyway, while my Godfather challenged my intellect, my Godmother, who was a nurse, but had the skills and knowledge of today’s Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant, kept close watch on my physical wellbeing. To be frank, she had been doing so prior to my Earthly debut.  In essence, she handpicked my mother’s OB/Gyn and my Pediatrician; both of whom were top-flight. All in all, she took my parents under her wing the minute they arrived in Augusta. So it was only natural that she and her husband would become my Godparents.

By now you are probably wondering why I have coerced you into accompanying me on a promenade down the streets of my memories. In other words, what is the point of this post?

Well I am glad that you asked!  So here we go!

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to pour into the lives of young children -much like my Godparents did for me. Realize that this does NOT have to cost you anything but a little bit of time.

Here are a couple of suggestions as to how you might do this:

Take a child to the public library and show them the process of finding and checking out a book.  Then, read to them.  You might also take them to free events that introduce them to different cultures.  Look for museum specials so that you can also introduce them to the arts.

Teach a child how to prepare your favorite simple dishes like salads and sandwiches. If they are older, you might show them how to use the stove to prepare a cooked meal.

Allow a child to accompany you to the bank, store or any other place where you take care of business.  While there, explain to them what a checking/ savings account is and allow them to watch you conduct a transaction like making a deposit or cashing a check.  If you are fully automated in the banking realm, show them how online transactions work.  Likewise, take them to a grocery store and show them how to select food items and how to pay for them.

Talk to them about money; specifically, about how it is earned, invested, spent, donated and saved.

Allow a child to watch you as you engage in a favorite pastime or routine activity. Help them to research activities that they may be interested in learning how to do.

To be honest, you can apply all of the suggestions above to any person that would benefit from that knowledge.  Get creative about sharing your skills, abilities and knowledge with others. Remember, you can adjust any of my suggestions in order to make them age appropriate.

Now, before I go, I’d like to have a word with anyone who has been named the Godparent of a child:

Godparents, take your job seriously!  Feel free to use my suggestions.  Please don’t think that you are functioning as a proper Godparent if your only involvement in your Godchild’s life is taking them to get a hamburger and a T-Shirt once a year. And for those of you who simply flaunt the title “Godparent” while adding NO value to the child’s life, I would like to challenge you to step up your game in a major way!

Lady G, is now stepping down from the soapbox!

Honestly, I thank God everyday for my Godparents; especially my Godmother who continued to watch over me through my high school years.  I also thank God for my daughter’s Godparents who have always been so very loving, kind and generous to her and my family.  They remind me so much of my own Godparents.

May God always bless and keep these four souls for all the days of their lives; even until the end of time.

Friends, I also urge you to take time to think about and remember the adults who poured into you when you were a child.  Challenge yourselves to pay it back and forward.